Duane Martin, left, Robin Thicke, Kevin Hart and Boris Kodjoe in "Real… (BET )
Bravo's "Real Housewives" franchise has inspired many things. Plastic surgery. Prenup agreements. Divorce.
But on BET it's led to a new comedy series called "Real Husbands of Hollywood."
The series, which premieres Jan. 15, spoofs the long chain of "Housewives" programs and focuses on celebrity friends who hang out together, usually while their famous actress wives are working. The series stars Kevin Hart, Boris Kodjoe, Nick Cannon, J.B. Smoove, Robin Thicke and Duane Martin and, like the Bravo reality series, features a lot of screaming, cursing and fighting.
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"This show is like the perfect storm," said Ralph Farquhar, an executive producer of the series. "Something like this is long overdue."
The network believes "Real Husbands of Hollywood" has a chance to become its biggest hit since the black-oriented network began an aggressive foray into scripted shows in 2008. The show is filled with insightful pokes at the "Housewives" franchise and celebrity culture and also further distances the network from past programming that some African American critics had criticized as degrading and offensive in its promotion of negative racial stereotypes.
In addition to the Bravo franchise, the series was also prompted by Hart's experiences as host of the BET awards from the past couple of years. (A number of video shorts were produced from that as well.) And even though the series is technically scripted — there are detailed outlines — about 30% of the show is improvised.
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In real life, many of the men on the show actually have famous wives. Kodjoe is married to Nicole Ari Parker ("Soul Food"), Martin is married to Tisha Campbell-Martin ("Martin"), and Thicke is married to Paula Patton ("Mission Impossible — Ghost Protocol"). Meanwhile, Smoove is married to singer Shahidah Omar while Cannon is married to pop diva and new "American Idol" judge Mariah Carey. Expect guest appearances.
Said Hart, recently divorced: "We're playing extended versions of ourselves."
The show already has attracted other big-name guest stars who aren't married to anyone on the cast: Jay Leno, Ed O'Neill, Shaquille O'Neal, Russell Simmons, Common and Nelly.
In the show, Hart is "prone to overreaction, wreaking havoc on this somewhat real world," said executive producer Stan Lathan. "This is similar to 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' — we tackle true things in a funny way."
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